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      January 25, 2020

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Home Chef vs Martha & Marley Spoon

Best Prepared Meals

To help you find the Best Prepared Meals, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Home Chef and Martha & Marley Spoon.

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Who has the best Prepared Meals? How many times have you come home after a long day and stared blankly at your refrigerator or pantry, trying to figure out what to eat? Or stopped at the drive-thru for fast food because the thought of coming up with something for dinner was just too much?

You're not alone. For people who'd like the convenience of fast food with the benefits of home cooking, Prepared Meals are the answer. For every imaginable palate and preference, there's a prepared meal service that can help. Several of today's most popular services send you high-quality, often organic ingredients - including fresh produce like shallots and herbs - saving you the hassle of planning your meals and going to the store.

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Best Reviews

2020

Prepared Meal Reviews

4 stars
Home Chef

HOME CHEF

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Cost:

Prices start at $7.99 per serving

Free shipping on orders over $45

Home Chef has one of the longest histories among businesses that provide customers with regular deliveries of fresh ingredients and simple-to-prepare recipes. They deliver over 10 million meals a year, definitely establishing Home Chef as a recognized service in the Prepared Meals marketplace - and with their growing relationship with the Kroger brand of families, you're likely to see even more of this company in the future.

Every delivery comes with fresh, already-portioned ingredients to be used in recipes that are ready for the table in 30 minutes or less. Feel free to browse their available entrees before signing up for the service; you'll find Creamy Parmesan Steak Penne, Wood-Fired BBQ Chicken Pizza, and Korean Fried Chicken among the customer favorites. You will have to enter your email address in order to see your specific choices for Prepared Meals packages.

As you begin that process, keep an eye out for pop-ups; we got an offer of a $30 discount on our first order if we gave them our email address, so you may get a similar promotion. Later, while we were getting our account set up, there was another "flash sale" discount of $10 on a future order.

To get started, you'll need to select how many Prepared Meals you'd like to cook each week, from 3-6. Home Chef is one of the only services that has options for larger families: each of your meals can serve 2, 4, or 6 people, depending on what you choose. Another convenient feature of Home Chef's Prepared Meals is that you can plan your selections as far as five weeks in advance, allowing you to sit down and figure out more than a month's meals in a short time.

Another part of customizing your Prepared Meals is choosing your menu style. Do you like to eat meat? Vegetables? Seafood? You can select any or all of them to be included in the entrees you receive. You'll also be able to specify if you're looking for low-carb or low-calorie options, or if you want certain ingredients to be avoided (like milk, soy, red meat, mushrooms, shellfish, wheat, or pork).

Finally, enter the address where you want your Prepared Meals to be delivered and select the day you prefer. Make sure not to miss that step, because it defaults to Tuesday if you don't choose another day of the week. In our area, available delivery days were Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.

In the past, Home Chef was criticized for not making their cancellation and refund policies abundantly clear - but comparing those policies with their competitors', Home Chef's are very similar. Weekly deliveries can be cancelled or paused anytime, with no long-term contracts. If you're not completely satisfied with their Prepared Meals, you can request a refund or credit. Be aware that if only part of your delivery had a problem - like a bruised apple or wilted basil - Home Chef may issue a replacement or a credit only for that part of your shipment, not for the entire package.

It seems that the Better Business Bureau also thinks that Home Chef is doing a good job in responding to customer complaints: at the time of this review, the BBB still rated Home Chef as an "A+". Looking at customer reviews presents a more mixed picture. Several of the more recent comments mentioned issues with the new delivery service chosen by Home Chef; packages were delivered late or to an incorrect address multiple times. Other customers had problems pausing or canceling the service, still receiving shipments even after submitting the request to put it on hold. Even customers who report being very satisfied with Home Chef sometimes mentioned missing ingredients - even essential ones like fish or chicken, and not just smaller components like cinnamon or garlic salt.

Home Chef continues to be a solid option if you like cooking but want the convenience of having ingredients and recipes delivered to your home. They're especially likely to be your Prepared Meals company of choice if you have a big family and don't want to order two packages just to feed everyone at your table. But, we recommend that you inspect every delivery carefully to make sure that all of your ingredients came in the box, and that you get in touch with Home Chef representatives right away if anything comes up short.

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2.5 stars
Martha & Marley Spoon

MARTHA & MARLEY SPOON

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Cost:

Per-serving cost of $8.20 to $12

Free shipping

Award-winning recipes and fresh ingredients equal a delicious meal, according to Martha & Marley Spoon. This Prepared Meals service also says that they can help you do that for less than you'd usually pay at the supermarket. But, is that actually the case?

Starting with a database of more than 18,000 Martha Stewart recipes, they're off to a good start. All of their plans include pre-portioned ingredients, including fresh herbs and vegetables, and recipes that can be completed 6 steps at the most.

For your plan, you'll have some choices to make. First, are you serving dinner to 2 people or 3-4? Next, would you like to receive 2, 3, or 4 recipes and ingredients each week? Finally, do you prefer to receive meals that are prepared with strictly vegetarian options?

Once you've made those selections, you'll choose from 10 options in the weekly menu, with entrees like Chili-Lime Shrimp, Warm Tortelloni and Bean Salad, or Steak and Almond Romesco. And, if you like to plan in advance, Martha & Marley Spoon makes their 10-recipe weekly menus available as far out as four weeks ahead of time.

Your Prepared Meals will be delivered according to your geographic area;, in our region, we could choose between Monday and Tuesday. The company promises that your shipments will be usable for a minimum of 4 days after the delivery date; fish is the sole exception and should be cooked within 48 hours of delivery. You'll also need to have some pantry staples on hand, like sugar, salt, oil and eggs.

The moment of truth: does Martha & Marley spoon deliver what they advertise, especially in comparison with competitor providers of Prepared Meals? The answer is "not so much". We encountered so many complaints from customers who said that their orders came days after the promised delivery date - including ice packs that were completely melted, air temperature meats, and damaged shipping containers. The ideal response on the part of the business would be to offer a refund or replacement, or at minimum a store credit.

Unfortunately for them - and for you - there is no satisfaction guarantee or return policy to be found on the Martha & Marley Spoon site. Some customers said that they were offered a discount on a future order, but who'd order again from a company that dropped the ball so significantly the first time? It's good that their representatives were responsive to the complaints we found, but they'd do better to provide a solid, customer-friendly guarantee and return policy - like most of the competition already offer.

As much as we liked the idea of being able to cook like Martha Stewart, this Prepared Meals service just doesn't deliver. With few options to customize plans for dietary needs, late deliveries, and poor customer service policies, Martha & Marley Spoon will probably have you heading to the grocery store - or to a higher-ranked business in our review - for your meals.

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Continued from above

If you have a loved one that needs to start eating a special diet for diabetes or other medical issues, you can choose a prepared meals company that offers ready-to-reheat meals packaged similarly to a TV dinner and that have been carefully created by nutritionists specifically for that condition.

On the other hand, maybe you've been tasked with bringing a mind-blowing main course to an important company function, but your skills in the kitchen are limited to boiling water and burning toast. No problem: just choose a Prepared Meals service that focuses on gourmet-level, special occasion entrees like chicken cordon bleu or even surf-and-turf.

When deciding which company is a good fit for your delivery of Prepared Meals, you'll soon notice that there's a wide variety to choose from. How do you select the one that's best for you? Here are some things to consider as you look at each service:

  • Menu. What does the provider offer? Can you choose from many different plans, like Vegetarian or Mediterranean? If you're trying to meet a special dietary need, like gluten-free or keto-friendly, will there be options for you? Does the type of Prepared Meals they send - reheat-and-eat vs. some cooking required - work for your situation?
  • Price. What will it cost to get your Prepared Meals? Can you choose to buy specific entrees a la carte, or do you have to buy a package?
  • Amount of Food. If you have a large family, is there a plan that will satisfy everyone? Are the serving sizes enough to fill you up?
  • Customer Service and Reputation. What have other people said about the experience of buying Prepared Meals from this business? Are packages delivered on time, with ingredients that are still fresh and properly refrigerated? If not, does the company's customer service department respond appropriately with a refund or credit?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Prepared Meals Delivery Companies available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right company to deliver the kind of meals you want, directly to your doorstep!

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